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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The federal government may ban sales of Ferrari's bread-and-butter F430 in late 2006 unless the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration grants the company a waiver on airbag requirements.

It isn't that the F430's airbags aren't safe — they meet or exceed most NHTSA guidelines. But the F430 lacks sufficient protection for a small number of female occupants who aren't strapped into the correct position in the event of a crash. The same problem applies to child occupants. If the waiver isn't granted, Ferrari will be unable to sell cars built after September 1, 2006.

NHTSA suggested the company accelerate production and stockpile pre-September 1 cars to keep dealers supplied with cars for the two remaining years in the F430's production cycle, but Ferrari pointed out that it is already building the cars as quickly as it can to meet demand.

In its petition, Ferrari details its plans to continue the F430 line until late 2008, when it will "be replaced by a newly designed eight-cylinder model." What that means for rumors of a possible 10-cylinder Lamborghini Gallardo fighter isn't clear.

Lotus initially expected it would need a similar waiver to sell the Elise in the U.S., but ultimately found it could meet the requirement with off-the-shelf airbag technology. Ferrari, on the other hand, says in its petition that it has extensively tested available components without success. "The issue is not one of cost, but one of impossibility," the document states. (Emphasis added by Ferrari in its filing.)

"We focused on the work that had been done in an attempt to comply," observed Ferrari North American Corporate General Council Dave Wertheim. "We think there is a very high degree of safety in the car," he emphasized.

When the wheels of the federal bureaucracy will churn out a decision is anybody's guess. "There is no expected timetable," said Wertheim. What do Ferrari's oddsmakers think it'll decide? "We're cautiously optimistic," he said.

Waivers have typically been considered the realm of tiny startups and importers of limited numbers of unusual cars. Even though Lotus complied with the airbag requirement, the Elise still required waivers for other elements, such as lighting. The Crosslander SUV under consideration from Romania, for example, will require a waiver for its complete absence of any airbags, which is a much taller order than Ferrari's request.

Ferrari points out that only 13 percent of its owners have children under the age of 6, so that it is unlikely that many kids will ride in one of the waived cars. Further, the company pledges to provide, free of charge to any customer who requests it, a special child seat which will automatically deactivate the passenger's side airbag. The cars will also feature a manual cutoff switch for the passenger's side airbag.

If the notion of buying a Ferrari child seat sounds attractive, hold on. At this point that child seat is entirely hypothetical, says Wertheim, and even then it would only be available to those who own the car.

What this means to you: It's an interesting look at all the legal wrangling automakers must go through to sell cars in this country. But it does beg the question as to why Ferrari let this coming regulatory deadline approach without making the necessary improvements.
 

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That is quite interesting. What do they mean by the "correct position" are the people situated too low in the seat, so the airbag would take their heads off? Or are they simply not held in tightly enough and fly forward an unusual amount under extremely quick stops (ie a head-on crash)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think this a very severe situation and perhaps will get some exotic manufacturers seriously concerened, im sure not one company would want to be restricted from selling in the US. The matter is very crucial for Ferrari to take care of. Hopefully their response will be first priority and resolved quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
But perhaps current owners will have problems too, and new owners might fear risking the car they just bought for Boku dollars over retail might not be allowed to be registered or have serious recalls that they cant drive the car or the fact that it will be in service fondled by mechanics for a lengthy amount of time?

I dont know, im just talking hypothetically. :D
 

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AlxAmg said:
But perhaps current owners will have problems too, and new owners might fear risking the car they just bought for Boku dollars over retail might not be allowed to be registered or have serious recalls that they cant drive the car or the fact that it will be in service fondled by mechanics for a lengthy amount of time?

I dont know, im just talking hypothetically. :D
So how does that differ from most of the previous models??? The early 360 FI's had a 10K computer upgrade neccesary...besides the wait in line....and the 355's had $12K Valve Guide issues.
 

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Anyway, I'd bet money this is just another ploy to lengthen the waiting list and let Dealers charge WAY OVER Retail to hedge against the Gallordo Threat that is taking Market Share by the boat loads!!!

Stand back and think about this realistically....Ferrari is losing Market Share to Lamborghini on an incredible level.... because the Gallardo will Smoke a 430...but Ferrari has a List & a Following...one Lambo doesn't have yet....so how better to drive the price up and stall the waiting line than to have a crisis???? Then what happens is Lambos are all taken, so the Ferrari guys are STUCK!!! This is a Simplistic Case of Suppy & Demand!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I dont know about all that, i cant see them creating this problem, because they could not have forseen it to begin with.

If your saying they are taking avantage of the situation, than maybe. But again, i dont know enough to comment.

I guess we will see how this plays out...

Overall, i dont think this is a positive situation for an exotic car manufacturer. Seem's like a real hassle to say the least.
 

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ltadmin said:
because the Gallardo will Smoke a 430...
I suggest you watch this video...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5807755268137464434&%20%20%20q=%22Test+drive+of+sports+cars%22+playable%><br%20/>Atr

Let me first say that I am not a fan of ferraris, especially the 8 cylinder ones, and I love my Gallardo and Lamborghini in general. But I do know for a fact that my GT3 will smoke my Gallardo. In fact my friends 997 Carrera S is an even match for the Gallardo. I have multiple racing licenses and race on a track 15-20 times per year. I still would never trade my Gallardo for a F430 or Porsche. Lamborghinis are exotics, not race cars. Thats just my opinion, but my friend Joe Fox drove the Murci R-GT at Road Atlanta in the ALMS race, and he would agree.
 
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